We’ll probably never know exactly how many trees are in South Orange — including parks, backyards, schoolyards, etc.
But we do know that there are 10,500 shade trees within rights of way.
“The right of way number means ‘street trees,'” explained South Orange Village Trustee Walter Clarke. “Usually that is the area between the street and a sidewalk. However in some areas there are no sidewalks and so there is a measurement from the street onto a property which is also the right of way.”
Clarke said that that 10,500 “seems like a very high number until you consider that South Orange maintains 181 roads — about 46 miles— within our borders.”
Clarke reported at the Monday, August 11, Board of Trustees meeting on the South Orange forestry numbers for 2013. Last year, said Clarke, South Orange removed 180 street trees due to dangerous conditions or the fact that the trees were “in decline.”
Another 750 trees were pruned and elevated, 191 stumps were ground, and 250 inspections were performed. Sixteen of the trees pruned were too tall for the usual bucket truck and required that a crane be brought in to do that work.
Importantly, 75 new trees were planted, ranging from maple, oak, zelkova, elm, ash and sephora. Clarke said that the number of new trees planted would be increased to 100 by the 2015 planting season.
The Department of Public Works has also been working in conjunction with the contractor hired by PSE&G to clear and maintain the trees hanging over primary utility lines in order to minimize power outages.
Other good news: One Public Works employee is studying to be a certified arborist. And the Town is setting up a meeting with a certified tree expert to assist with a forestry plan, as well as additional services related to tree management.